Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weddings, Facebook, Congress, the CCJ and faith in Christ Jesus

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing - John Newton Lord renew thy church beginning with me: Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s) NEWS Apart from the big news in the week, my high point was a wedding I attended. And I just love weddings! Even more so now that, as an amateur photographer with a relatively good professional camera and flash, courtesy of my son, I can capture the the treasured moments and share them with others. Long before the real photographer gets his or her things together! Great fun. But while I was enjoying sharing in the climax of being young and in love, and the start of a new life together,all kinds of things were happening in my country and across the world. What can only be described as bizarre behavior by the Republican party in the USA, in shutting down the Federal Government, was the hot topic across the globe; affecting markets and putting people out of jobs. Thus attracting a cynical gibe on Facebook and which comment captured well the moment. "If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress!" Meanwhile 'back here on the ranch in the Caribbean', a landmark decision by a Regional Court, the CCJ, which ruled in favor of a Jamaican, Shanique Myrie, who had contended that she had, inter alia, been subjected to an illegal body cavity search while seeking to gain entry into another Caribbean Barbados, sent ripples across the region. The upshot of which decision ought to make it much more pleasant for Caribbean national to travel across the region. However, that assurance did not prevent one of my Facebook friends studying law in Barbados from posting the following very politically charged comment on her page: " Am I Jamaican or Dominican?" THE WORD OF GOD So as I contemplated things around me and went from weddings to Facebook; from political brinkmanship and even possible political suicide in pursuit of the " stop Obama scorched earth policy" to Caribbean drama; what did the Lord say in all of this "stuff " going on around the world? THE FIRST MESSAGE The first message came in the form of an -e-mail sent to a man of influence in my country, according to the circumstances as noted below. And the reminder from the Lord has been in my head for months now. As just one Word from Jesus, no matter what your condition is, or how far away you are from those praying for you, regardless of how serious is your case, and you and I can be healed. Instantly! Or otherwise, depending on God's will and purpose. And as my rector at church reminded us this morning, contextualizing his sermon in the Gospel reading about the having faith as small as a mustard seed, and referencing the Shanique Myrie case as an act of faith, we who are The Baptized and of The Easter faith, are called to exercise that gift of faith. Regardless, and especially, in the midst, of daunting circumstances, as one Word from the Saviour, and Congress will have to act sensibly. Syria will return to normal! Caribbean countries will no longer subject other nationals to humiliating searches. And, O my God have mercy, murder most foul and road fatalities will be dramatically reduced in Jamaica land we love. Cancer and grinding poverty, both of which are shaking the faith of many, will no longer hold our people captive to depression and grief. So we are called to pray, and to put our trust in Jesus, as there is no other way, but to trust and obey. Dear ..... I have long ceased believing in coincidence, as that word has no place in the vocabulary of a child of God. So this morning, during my devotions and reflections on one of The Lord's miracles which we discussed in Bible study last night, our discussions on the flight back home on Sunday night, as we sat beside each other, came to mind. Especially your gracious words about the Sunday night internet ministry. "After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and at the point of death. And when he heard concerning Jesus, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and save his servant. And they, when they came to Jesus, besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him; And Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole. (Luke 7:1-4, 6-10 ASV)". My prayer then is that Jesus may speak a word in your heart, which will inspire you to commit your entire life to serving He Who died for you and for the sins of all mankind. You and your entire family. And not just you alone my friend, but all who have great influence in this nation, that our people may be peacefully governed, and find true prosperity. As that longed for state of this nation will only come when we trust in the God of Jacob, as revealed in the Psalms. Hope to see you at St. Andrew Parish soon and regularly. Peace. Lucien Sent from my iPad THE SECOND MESSAGE The second Word from the Lord came in a message sent out to senior policy makers in my country. And the prayers are those I use each and every morning, unless otherwise directed by the Lord, at the start of my daily devotions. The key point here is that, like faith, all other gifts that we employ in directing the affairs of man, if done for the glory of the Lord, are gifts from God. And we can do nothing unless He so empowers us. A reality that those who wield considerable power, whether in Congress, in the White House, in the Courts of the land, should consider well. And even more so those who are privileged to share in the beauty and mystery that is love, and which love ought to find even deeper fulfillment and joy in Holy Matrimony. THE FINAL SECTION OF A THREE PART PRAYER ENTITLED ' A MORNING WATCH' BY JACOB BOEHME. Verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Jacob Boehme ( 1575-1624.. An influential German mystic...whose writings - he claimed- were based on divine revelation and experience...and whose writings influenced people like William law, John Milton and Isaac Newton. I thought it might be useful for leaders to contemplate and to use in their own prayer life. ON WAKING Living Lord........... ON RISING Rule over me this day.......... ON GOING TO WORK Give me dear Lord, a pure heart and a wise mind, that I may carry out my work according to your will. Save me from all false desires, from pride, greed, envy and anger, and let me accept joyfully every task you set before me. Let me seek to serve the poor, the sad, and those unable to work. Help me to discern honestly my own gifts that I may do the things of which I am capable, and happily and humbly leave the rest to others. Above all, remind me constantly that I have nothing except what you give me, and can do nothing except what you enable me to do. LWJ THE THIRD MESSAGE The final Word, although seemingly directed at Seventh Day Adventists with their emphasis on " keeping the Sabbath", is actually a Word of great empowerment for all believers, and for all who wonder about the power and majesty of the church of God. As the reality of the Christian faith, is that each day through suffering and privations, persecution and " sickness from the Lord' we are being transformed into the likeness and image of God. And thus be able to manifest the very present of God wherever we are and whatever we do. For His glory and for the release of prisons from ignorance, unbelief, spiritual blindness and evil! So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:16-18 NIV) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17 NIV) Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NIV) Now ponder all of the above as we say in faith and only because of the cleansing Blood of Christ: " Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.......". And then like Paul exclaimed, do not think it strange when you undergo trials and persecution, as that reality is rooted in Scripture, and has a very long history. But oh what a joy to be transformed more and more each day, by The Spirit into the very image and likeness of God. This transformation is what the world around us needs to see, so they too will come to fear God and know of His love and mercy and faithfulness. Amen!